Such Happiness In Thought Happens

March 31, 2013

Travel from Brisbane to Amsterdam

Filed under: Holiday, Home Stuff — Duane @ 4:24 am

Well that was interesting and our stress about thinking how the flights would be with kids was mainly for nothing. No pictures to post at this point, just boring text to read. Read on for more of our adventures to date.

Before the flight

It was always going to be interesting with the flight from Brisbane as the flight was meant to depart just before midnight. Those who know us and our routine know that the kids are usually in bed by 7pm. So we weren’t sure how the kids would be waiting for the plane.

Emma, Caitlin and Lucas were great. They all had a snooze in the early afternoon (we collected Emma and Caitlin early from school, while Lucas slept at daycare) and were able to last until the flight. Originally we were planning on taking a taxi to the airport, however friends of ours put their foot down and said no, they would take us to the airport. Plan slightly changed but thanks to Kain, Vanessa and Rob, we made it to the airport by 9pm for check-in.

Check-in. What can I say? If Agnes hadn’t asked about seating it would have made for a very interesting flight. Flight Centre had to make some changes to Agnes’ ticket. This then made it that we were not a family of five, but a family of four plus one. This meant that four would be sitting in one middle row, and one sitting on their own. As the plane was full, this made it interesting for the check-in attendant to seat us in such a way that we would be near each other. In the end all was sorted to our satisfaction.

Waiting was boring, but the kids were great waiting. Boarding was uneventful, especially as families were invited first to board, which was ideal for us. Lucas sat with me, with Emma and Caitlin on either side of Agnes. Take off, while exciting for the kids, did not evoke any screams of terror or wonder from the kids.

On the flight

Lucas fell asleep about 10 minutes after we had ascended to required altitude. He was eating some chips provided as part of the kids meal and fell asleep between one chip and the next. This was with the lights still on. As Emma and Caitlin were behind me I can’t fully remember when they went to sleep, but Agnes mentioned that at one point she had both girls’ heads on her lap for them to try and sleep.

I slept fitfully during the 8 hour flight, Agnes slept less than me. I think Lucas slept about 6 hours and the girls between 4 and 5 hours. So not too bad overall.

Food on the plane – well what can I say? We all know what airplane food is like. I completely forgot to make arrangements with Malaysian Airlines for gluten-free, dairy-free meals due to my low FODMAP diet. This made it interesting as I didnt have anything for the snack before sleep. Breakfast there was only one option for me so had to eat that.

Activities for when the kids were awake was inflight entertainment at this point. Activities for the adults was similar, but Agnes and I also read.

Kuala Lumpur

Disembarking was easy – we waited for everyone else to leave before getting all our stuff. The one disadvantage to this was that we got a bit lost getting to customs, etc. As our luggage was checked through to Holland, we didnt have to worry about collecting bags – straight to customs and then to find the hotel. All was straight forward in the airport, bar the walking and trying to decipher the signs. The hotel we would be staying at is next to the hotel, so no need to take the KLIA Ekspres into the city.

Checking into Sama Sama Hotel was also straight forward. By this point it was about 7am. Once in the room everyone was in the bath to get clean and then into pyjamas for a sleep. As Lucas had had such a nice sleep in the plane, he decided he didnt want to sleep, but wanted to play. So I sacrified my chance for sleep, so that Agnes could catch up on some sleep.

Lucas and I spent the next few hours seeing the hotel’s amenities, playing with his dinosaurs and cars, then going for a walk outside the hotel, so that Lucas could wear his sunnies and use his camera. The hotel staff loved seeing him around the reception, especially after he put his sunnies on.

(SIDENOTE – Agnes got the kids each their own camera so that they could take their own photos without asking to use our phones or camera. I think Caitlin took some photos on the flight, but recollection is a bit fuzzy).

Kuala Lumpur at mid morning is pleasant, not too muggy. Not much to look at, but Lucas had fun taking photos of rocks, trees, etc. By 10am we were both hungry and ready to eat. We went back up to the room out of politeness to see if anyone was awake and ready to eat. Agnes woke just as we were leaving the room, but decided to rest some more.

Breakfast buffet for Lucas and I, followed by some more playing.  Lucas then surprised  me by asking to go for a sleep. So back to the room for some shut-eye. Agnes was awake and tried to get some food – restaurant was closing up in preparation for the lunch menu. So more sleep for Agnes and the kids. I chose to stay up some more and be there in case Caitlin or Emma woke.

Ended up waking Emma and Caitlin so that they and Agnes could have some lunch. Agnes enjoyed the buffet lunch, with its food varieties. I opted out of lunch as I had only eaten a couple of hours beforehand.

After lunch was the pool! At this point Agnes realised that her extensive planning had failed to plan for something – swimmers for the adults. We had packed the kids swimmers, but not our own. So the kids enjoyed the pool, I read and Agnes supervised the kids and chatted to a couple from Sydney.

We attempted to have the kids go for another snooze, but that was not to be. So play and some tv time for the kids and then an early dinner. Dinnertime was extremely enjoyable due to the variety of foods on offer. The dessert bar was the only naughtiness on my behalf as I was extremely tempted by all the good looking desserts on offer.

(SIDENOTE – Did you know Sama Sama uses iPads as menus? If you do not want to eat from the buffet, they provide you with an iPad to select and order from the menu.)

Naptime for everyone was pretty easy this time and the wake up call from Reception had us up and ready in plenty of time to get to KLIA for our flight.

Small drama looking for our flight as the displays said that the flight had already closed! Hour and a half before it was ready to go! Apparently there was a small glitch in the system that accounted for this. We didnt have to check in, as our tickets were prepared at Brisbane. So straight to the gate to wait for the plane. Thankfully there was a small playground to keep the kids entertained until boarding time.

Flight to Amsterdam

Nearly a repeat of the flight to Kuala Lumpur – Lucas feel asleep early. Emma and Caitlin waited til the lights went off and then slept. Our seating arrangement was different as this plane had a centre seating arrangement of five seats – so the whole family sat in a line. I had Emma and Caitlin on either side of me this time.

I slept in bits and pieces. Sore neck and swelling hands and feet kept waking me up. I think I slept about half of the flight duration – roughly 6 hours. Kids slept longer with again Lucas being the sleeping winner at about 8 hours. I remember waking at one point when the pilot told the cabin crew to take a seat. This was due to turbulence caused by rain/storm over the Bay of Bengal.

Awake time for the kids was a bit trying – Lucas didnt like the inflight entertainment much, so Agnes pulled out his dinosaurs and cars to keep him entertained. Emma and Caitlin liked the inflight movies – I think Caitlin watched Rise of the Guardians about three times she liked it that much. The last hour was the worse, and to be honest, it wasn’t that bad, just trying. The last hour was difficult as the head phones were collected and the pressure froom slowly descending hurt everyone’s ears.


Cold was the first impression about disembarking at Schiphol airport. The flight details listed the outside temperature as between 0 and -2 degrees celsius. This was reinforced when you left the plane and walked the walkway to the airport itself. Freezing! Inside the airport was back to normal temperature.

Getting out of Schiphol was a breeze – the kids handed their own passports to Customs and it was funny watching the kids answer the guy’s questions as to why they were in Holland – “going to Oma Jola’s and Opa Wim’s place” was Emma and then Caitlin’s answer.

Timo (Agnes’ biological father), Robert (Agnes’ brother) and Wim and Jola were waiting for us with winter jackets at arrivals. We arrived about 15 minutes early and made our way to the car park. Agnes and I expected to be taking the train home, but this was not to be. Robert brought his work car to take all the luggage, while Agnes and the kids got into the car arranged by Timo. I rode with Wim and Jola.

The highlight of getting to the car was the lightly falling snow. Not enough to coat the cars and ground, but enough for the kids to say they saw snow. The car ride to Wim and Jola’s saw more snow lightly falling.

So a mainly uneventful trip and the dreaded stress of dealing with kids sitting on a plane was not what we anticipated. Shall update in future with some photos the kids took and more of the snow in Zaandam.


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